THE Department of Agriculture (DA) is bent on banking on science and technology to help improve rice production in the country.
According to DA Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel, Jr., the government, under the leadership of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., is focused on improving rice production and reducing post-harvest losses through the use of science and technology.
Laurel harped on the importance of harmonized efforts from all sectors to attain food sufficiency in front of rice experts and scientists during his visit to the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in the Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija,
“We just have to focus our efforts and synchronize with each other in implementing our rice programs with all agencies, local government units, and stakeholders,” Laurel said.
The dream of being rice sufficient is achievable, Laurel said. “We just have to work in harmony,” he added.
According to Laurel, he would not take the Cabinet post and taken the responsibility if he didn’t see any hope in the agriculture sector.
Following the directive of President Marcos to increase rice production, Laurel announced that the DA will launch a massive modernization program to increase rice recovery after milling from 62 percent and lessen wastage after harvest.
Laurel also committed to look into the staffing of PhilRice, and bring in more employees to its current 297 personnel, as well as scientists to help improve the Philippine rice sector.
PhilRice executive director John de Leon said the agency now employs 1,500 as contractual workers, many of them highly capable in their respective fields.
With 140-hectares and eight stations throughout the country, Laurel recognized that PhilRice is severely undermanned, especially for its central role in producing seeds and developing technology that would help increase rice output.